Soapbox Issues

Bust that Bully…but how?

Bullying — it’s getting worse each day.

Last week here, an incident at a school made headlines when a boy died allegedly due to a fight at school. Following his death, there was news that bullying was rampant in the school. Furthermore, students and parents were calling for the sacking of the principal saying that nothing was being done about the bullying situation.

Now, I can see that it was unfortunate for the kid that died. But blaming the principal and staff is a bit ridiculous. I say this because I witness what happens as well. Bullying takes place. The bullies get detention, suspensions etc to no avail. Why? Because they don’t care. Most of these kids don’t give a shit about the consequences in terms of detention, suspension or even expulsion. Well, do they respond to counselling or education? Hah! I’d have better success banging my head against a brick wall. At least that might eventually cave in.

I am serious when I say that most bullies nowadays do not fear the consequences of any sort. Teachers and principals have no ‘power’ over these kids. The counsellor does not have a magic wand. So what can be done?

1. Parents. In my opinion, parents need to be the first ones to help their kids change. I’ve seen bullies or kids that fight who have told me that their parent has said ask nicely once, and if the person doesn’t listen, punch them. What the fuck?! It’s no wonder the teachers, principal or anyone else is fighting a losing battle. Parents need to educate their kids right from age 5 on how to treat others.

2. The media. Yes…the media. The media that glorifies sex, violence, bitchiness and 15 minutes of fame. What are schools meant to do in the face of this? Every girl wants to be Paris Hilton. They want to emulate their icons on TV.

I really do wish I had a magic wand. The kids are getting out of control.

This story here tells you a bit of what we may be in for in the coming years. And I will be working with them all.

Until next time,


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  • MilesPerHour
    4 September 2009 at 11:17 am

    Parents have the responsibility here. Somehow a good butt whipping has become considered abusive. It sure didn’t hurt me. Most of the parents I know who had no problems as kids got a few in our day. They are the ones who dish it out in love when their kids need it and they have the children who are not involved in problems.

    The school faculty has really no power these days. The system has taken away their ability to discipline kids. We got plenty from the teachers when I was in school and none of it was out of line. I’m glad I let my first bachelor’s degree in education lay idle and got another to stay out of thie mess the system and society has made.

  • ani_aset
    4 September 2009 at 12:40 pm

    hey PB it makes me sad, but i guess education starts at home and parents need to be aware of their kids

  • Titaxy
    4 September 2009 at 4:01 pm

    the media..yupe, i agree, Psych…everything is overrated and kids assume it’s actually ‘cool’ to do certain things…

  • indianhomemaker
    4 September 2009 at 7:01 pm

    When my daughter was in play school, another child’s mother told me I had made her too timid by not teaching her to take care of herself by hitting other children… this thinking is extremely common. Many parents encourage their children to violence, it is common specially for boys to be told to beat and come , and not to be beaten and come back. So they grow up believing in violence…

  • Psych Babbler
    4 September 2009 at 10:26 pm

    @ MPH: I think given that some parents went overboard with the hitting resulting in abuse is what formed the laws. I’m torn because while I have been hit as a kid a few times on my legs (and have turned out fine) I do see parents that are physically abusive and pretty much whack their kids in the head which is NOT right. I think it’s because of these parents, the safer option is to ban hitting. You are right though in that the school system has no power whatsoever. It’s political correctness gone mad. The kids have more power over staff and the problem is they know it. I’ve seen kids threaten staff for touching their bags because there’s laws against it. I myself was threatened by a kid when I was on prac who wanted to walk out and blatantly told me “you can’t touch me or I’ll complain”. What do we do, eh?

    @ Ani: Yeah…it has to start at home. Several parents just expect their kids to learn stuff like respect, social skills, cooperation etc at school!

    @ Titaxy: Yeah…sigh…oh for the good old days.

    @ IHM: You are right about the boys thing…the examples I gave were in fact parents of boys. It leads to a vicious cycle of events and there’s nothing you can do to break it…

  • Sidthegnomenator
    6 September 2009 at 2:16 pm

    My son (12) had a horrible first year at secondary school last year – he got bullied so much it brought us both to tears time and time again.

    The school did what they could, but in most cases they knew the kids did not fear the consequences and that the parents would do nothing so I think they felt their hands were tied.

    Parents are often too quick to assume their kids are little angels.

  • Reema
    6 September 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I second IHM’s view. Atleast Indians have the tendency to teach their sons violence.

  • Psych Babbler
    14 September 2009 at 11:51 am

    @ Sid: I can imagine! I have some clients that have dropped out due to being bullied or that refuse school. It’s sad…and yeah, the parents that think their kids are little angels need to wake up!

    @ Reema: It’s not just Indians…there’s some other cultures that I work with that also teach their kids the same (most not Caucasian)